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An erratic Liverpool side host an inconsistent Arsenal on Saturday evening knowing a a win is a necessity if they hope to keep pace with their top four rivals. 

Since the turn of the year, the Reds have struggled to recapture their early season form which saw them as the main threat to Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table. Jurgen Klopp's men have won just one of their previous seven league matches and in the entirety of 2017 have picked up just the six points.

The Merseyside outfit are doing their best impression of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde after picking up points against Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs but dropping them to the likes of Swansea City, Hull City and Leicester City.

Arsene Wenger's men make the trip north in the knowledge a win opens up a four-point gap over Liverpool with the Gunners still having a game in hand. It's an opportunity to cement their place in what was quickly becoming the most competitive top four of race in recent memory.  

WHEN AND WHERE IS THE GAME?

Date: Saturday 4 March

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Stadium: Anfield, Liverpool

TV: BT Sports 1

FORM GUIDE

Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool                    Sutton United 0-2 Arsenal (FA Cup)

Hull 2-0 Liverpool                                      Bayern Munich 5-1 Arsenal (Europe)           

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea                                   Arsenal 2-0 Hull City               

Liverpool 1-2 Wolves (FA Cup)                    Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal                  

Liverpool 0-1 Southampton (EFL Cup)       Arsenal 1-2 Watford                  

LAST TIME THEY MET …

Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview: Can The Gunners End Klopp's Hopes Of A Top Four Finish?

It was a Premier League classic. The two teams faced off on the Sunday of opening weekend of the season and Liverpool ran out victors in a seven goal thriller.

Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead just after the half-hour mark as he made the most of the away side's defence switching off to fire the ball home part Simon Mignolet. It looked as though the Gunners would go into the break a goal to the good but on the stroke of half-time Philippe Coutinho curled home a magnificent 30-yard freekick to draw the Reds level.

The second-half was just four minutes old when Liverpool cut through the Arsenal defence. The move resulted in Adam Lallana cooly slotting home. Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech was picking the ball out of his net again just five minutes later after Coutinho poked home a 19-pass move to put the away side 3-1 up.

It got even better for Klopp's men after new signing Sadio Mané scored the goal of the game. The former Southampton man used his pace to race past Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal before curling a left foot effort beyond the reach of Cech.

Arsenal pulled a goal back inside of a minute when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took advantage of a defensive mistake to fire home. The game was finely balanced heading into the final 30 minutes. The final goal arrived when Calum Chambers glanced the ball home to make it 4-3 in the 75th minute.

TEAM NEWS

LIVERPOOL

Dejan Lovren is expected to return to the first-team after missing the last two matches. The Croat will more than likely replace Lucas Leiva in the Liverpool defence. Daniel Sturridge should be fit enough to take his place on the substitutes bench but captain Jordan Henderson is set to miss the match due to a foot injury.

Klopp's potential headache will arrive in the form of whether he sticks with Mignolet or restores Loris Karius to the first-team. The Belgian pulled off a string of impressive saves in the defeat to Leicester but was questionable for the opener. What will the manager decide to do?

Arsenal

Santi Cazorla misses the visit to Anfield with an ankle injury but both Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny returned to full training this week. It's unlikely the Welsh midfielder will get the nod from the start but he could have an impact off of the bench at some stage.

The big decision for Wenger is whether or not he opts to start with Olivier Giroud or Alexis Sanchez in the striking position. Liverpool struggle against dominant attackers like Giroud but pacy forwards like Sanchez cause them all sorts of trouble – just look at the damage Jamie Vardy did on Monday evening.

Ultimately, Wenger should opt for Giroud with Iwobi being less than impressive of late, leaving our predicted line up as follows:

 

KEY STATISTICS

  • The last two matches between these sides have seen a total of 13 goals.
  • The Gunners have scored 12 goals in their last five matches against the Reds.
  • Three of the last five matches have ended in a draw.
  • Philippe Coutinho has scored three goals against Arsene Wenger's men, the Brazilian has only scored more goals against Manchester City.

KEY BATTLE: SADIO MANÉ VS NACHO MONREAL

Liverpool celebrate Sadio Mane scoring

READ MORE: WHY ARSENAL NEED TO REPLACE NACHO MONREAL 

Mané is the top goal-scorer for Liverpool so far this season with eleven strikes. It’s quite the feat given he doesn’t play centrally and he spent the best part of a month away with Senegal. Liverpool missed him during while he was gone as they have nobody close to his profile in their squad.

He terrorised Monreal during the 4-3 win. If he's not protected on Saturday evening then we could be in for another repeat performance. After all, it's happened to the Spaniard in numerous matches this season; he struggles with direct wingers. That side of the pitch could well be where the game is won for Liverpool and lost for Arsenal.

Liverpool's capitulation shows Jurgen Klopp got tactics wrong again

Liverpool

Premier League